Publisher(s): Black Inc.
Platform(s): PC, XBLA, PS3
Review Platform: XBLA
Release Date: June 14, 2013
Fireburst is a game that calls back to the racing games of old: fun, fast, and full of action. In some respects it does this well; however, more often than not players will find themselves frustrated with the game’s core mechanics. At its best, Fireburst is a burst of hectic fun. When that burst is over though, it returns back to its usual state of bland.
The first thing you’ll want to do is jump right into a race. The second thing you’ll do is, obviously, notice how the cars handle. Fireburst does a great job at reminding you of your first time driving in Grand Theft Auto IV: slipping and sliding all over the place. It’s an interesting design choice to coat all of the roads in butter, but it adds a level of skill that no one asked for. Over correcting will lead to many deaths, and moving the stick a millimeter is over correcting. A majority of these deaths will come not from other drivers, but from overly strict boundaries. Getting used to the lack of traction doesn’t take too long, but a relapse is easy and common.
What Fireburst does right is focus on the action. There is no story to bog you down, no mandatory tutorial, and you have access to all of the game’s content from the start. Unfortunately, the open nature of it all is also a bit of insight to the game as a whole: it’s shallow. There are few things to unlock, and all of it is cosmetic. New racers and cars are cool, but when those are the only goals, it’s a let down. Additional maps, modes, and attacks would be a huge plus to the game that would keep myself and others coming back. Besides, the best character is playable from the start; it’s hard to top a dancing midget whose catch phrase is “I’m the richest.”
Lack of content isn’t the only way that Fireburst is shallow as a whole. After a few races and demolition matches, you’ve seen everything the game offers. Drive fast, burst your car into flames, kill other players, repeat. The fact that different cars have different attacks is negligible since they all have the same effect. Each attack results in cars near you exploding due to flames. There are no ranged weapons, only close proximity explosions. This is what sets Fireburst apart from Twisted Metal and the likes, but it also makes me wish I was playing Twisted Metal. Unfortunately, the driving mechanics aren’t rewarding enough to keep more traditional racing fans interested. Without variety in combat and shallow driving in a driving action game, what are you left with?
During the stretches of the races without any action, it’s easy to appreciate the visuals of the game. The environments have a large draw distance and the tracks themselves are easy to get distracted by. The downside to this is that it is quite apparent that several of the assets used in the game are stock from the Unreal Development Kit. This is painfully obvious due to the repeated trees and such, plus the leap in terms of quality from the character models and menu background to the environments of the races.
|Final Score||“A completely forgettable experience”||6.0|
Compared to other indie games on the Arcade, Fireburst is impressive. How much of that credit goes to the developers, as opposed to UDK? That’s for you to decide. Either way, the models (or anything that is put under close scrutiny for that matter) will not impress anyone, but the environments make up for it.
The races are quick, fast, and repetitive. The high points are chaotic and enjoyable, but the rest is entirely run of the mill. The bursts of excitement are even less memorable when held back by the fact that cars handle on par with a broken toboggan.
VALUE- For ten dollars, you can do better. Have an excess of MS points that need to be spent? Go for it, but the minimal amount of content and lack of anything to work for will be sure to disappoint.
The sound in Fireburst is exactly what you’d expect if you turn the music off. If you’re foolish enough to keep the music on, prepare yourself to live with regret: the musical choices can only be described as deplorable. The wannabe-punk-rock selection is sure to annoy everyone but high school girls.
Review by Chris Lohr
Chris Lohr is a freelance writer currently in film school. If you’re looking for him to write for your website, manifesto, or Russian bride catalogue, send an email to email@example.com. Put today’s date as the subject line and include a picture of yourself. Must be DDD free and willing to host. All Articles by Chris.